Why can't migrants vote?

Statement of participation in Wahlwexel.  Press conference, 2013

I think its clear for many of us that democracy is a flawed system and we see it daily in the continuous explosion of protests all over and across borders and territories.

I take part of Wahlwexel because I live here and I am affected on an immediate level by the outcome of elections. Elections that have seen in recent history a turn to the right and the instrumentalization of the production of fear towards foreigners, migrants and asylum seekers with dramatic consequences as the intensification of anti-rights.

As a critic of the functioning of society I believe that the political involvement of each individual affects the community as a whole. As a migrant from a third country I see it as a critique of postcolonial spaces and racist structures. As a feminist I see it in continuation with the expansion of rights earned by the suffragist movement. The expansion of the vote to previously discriminated groups has historically meant the attainment of tools, even if limited, for a way on how to confront their discrimination and initiate a discussion on their own terms.

Giving your vote to someone that cant vote is a provocative action. For it is provocative to ask for the right of political representation in an environment where people like the activist refugees, who had activated themselves for a right to self-representation, are being now largely prosecuted with the final threat of being thrown out of this space altogether via deportation.

This is an invitation to the community we form part of, that is critical of the things that are happening in Austria, to activate themselves and to voice their non-conformity to the consolidation of a different class of people that have a different type of rights; an invitation to remain critical and act upon it.


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